The Perverse Discourse of “Crippling” Sanctions
I expect to be fed a large helping of superlative self-idolizing rhetoric at presidential debates focused on foreign policy, and so I kept my gag reflect under control when hearing Obama describe the United States as the one indispensable power in the world and Romney refer to the nation as “the hope of the earth” with a military power second to none. When both men spoke of the sanctions against Iran and called them “crippling,” a word clearly meant to make me the voter feel all good and safe and secure inside, I choked from nausea.
You’ll notice that neither Romney nor Obama mentioned the real human beings hurt by “crippling sanctions.” Their talk was all abstraction: if Iran is crippled, then it cannot harm us. Crippled is good. We want Iran crippled. Until, so help us God, we turn our thoughts to the innocent people who actually suffer the crippling effects Obama and Romney are so determined to inflict. For Romney, and I assume for Obama, crippling sanctions are Number One. Let that sink in as you picture children deprived of food and medicine.
Look, if you want to argue that sanctions are somehow justified, at least have the respect for your fellow human beings to acknowledge and own the terrible human costs you’re willing to tolerate and that you don’t have to suffer. Don’t hide the hurt behind perverse feel-good abstractions.